Improving Combination Osteoporosis Therapy in a Preclinical Model of Heightened Osteoanabolism

Endocrinology. 2017 Sep 1;158(9):2722-2740. doi: 10.1210/en.2017-00355.


Combining anticatabolic agents with parathyroid hormone (PTH) to enhance bone mass has yielded mixed results in osteoporosis patients. Toward the goal of enhancing the efficacy of these regimens, we tested their utility in combination with loss of the transcription factor Nmp4 because disabling this gene amplifies PTH-induced increases in trabecular bone in mice by boosting osteoblast secretory activity. We addressed whether combining a sustained anabolic response with an anticatabolic results in superior bone acquisition compared with PTH monotherapy. Additionally, we inquired whether Nmp4 interferes with anticatabolic efficacy. Wild-type and Nmp4-/- mice were ovariectomized at 12 weeks of age, followed by therapy regimens, administered from 16 to 24 weeks, and included individually or combined PTH, alendronate (ALN), zoledronate (ZOL), and raloxifene (RAL). Anabolic therapeutic efficacy generally corresponded with PTH + RAL = PTH + ZOL > PTH + ALN = PTH > vehicle control. Loss of Nmp4 enhanced femoral trabecular bone increases under PTH + RAL and PTH + ZOL. RAL and ZOL promoted bone restoration, but unexpectedly, loss of Nmp4 boosted RAL-induced increases in femoral trabecular bone. The combination of PTH, RAL, and loss of Nmp4 significantly increased bone marrow osteoprogenitor number, but did not affect adipogenesis or osteoclastogenesis. RAL, but not ZOL, increased osteoprogenitors in both genotypes. Nmp4 status did not influence bone serum marker responses to treatments, but Nmp4-/- mice as a group showed elevated levels of the bone formation marker osteocalcin. We conclude that the heightened osteoanabolism of the Nmp4-/- skeleton enhances the effectiveness of diverse osteoporosis treatments, in part by increasing hyperanabolic osteoprogenitors. Nmp4 provides a promising target pathway for identifying barriers to pharmacologically induced bone formation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Resorption / drug therapy
  • Bone Resorption / genetics
  • Bone Resorption / metabolism
  • Bone and Bones / drug effects*
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Diphosphonates / administration & dosage*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Imidazoles / administration & dosage*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Nuclear Matrix-Associated Proteins / genetics
  • Osteoporosis / drug therapy*
  • Osteoporosis / genetics
  • Osteoporosis / pathology
  • Parathyroid Hormone / administration & dosage*
  • Raloxifene Hydrochloride / administration & dosage*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Zoledronic Acid


  • Diphosphonates
  • Imidazoles
  • Nuclear Matrix-Associated Proteins
  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Transcription Factors
  • Zfp384 protein, mouse
  • Raloxifene Hydrochloride
  • Zoledronic Acid